Friday, June 29, 2012

Latest Craigslist Bargains

Somehow, even though there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done I should be doing, I still find time to shop.

It's a phenomenon.


The reason behind my latest shopping ventures was to find things for the living room redo I'm about to start. But I kept finding great bargains that had nothing to do with my living room plans--and I couldn't let them go to waste! 

That would just be wrong.

So I also picked up a lot of things for Mr. P's Emporium. I'm planning on being in one or two sales this fall, so of course I need to get things to sell.  (We won't mention that I have a quite a few pieces already!) 

A friend of mine says I started Mr. P's as an excuse to hoard. I disagree, since I end up selling the things I find.  But I freely admit I started it as an excuse to shop. 

What can I say?  I'm just really, really good at it!

I hate to pass up a deal, and I've had a streak of good bargain-hunting luck this past month. Too many things to show on just one post! Since I know you love thrifty finds like I do, I'm going to share some today, but I also have some really unique finds I'm going to do a post about later.

I started out going to see these vintage sconces I found in a Craigslist ad.

I'm thinking of mounting them on a couple of old shutters I have, which are currently in my dining room.  $20 for the pair.

While I was there, I saw this enamel top table.  It used to be in the woman's parents' home, which she was clearing out. 

Both of the leaves work, and it has a cute red and white design.

Plus, it still has the drawer with the silverware separator inside.

I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she said $40.  Sold!  I don't really have to do anything with it, other than give it a good cleaning. Have you seen how much vintage enamel top tables are selling for?!!

Another Craigslist adventure that weekend netted these two maple end tables for $15 each. 

And this cute vintage corner table with an unfortunate iridescent paint job.

About a week later I answered a Craigslist ad for this coffee table for $25.  It's solid oak, and I'm going to paint it for my living room.

Turns out the seller and his wife were downsizing and moving to their vacation home, so they had some other things for sale.  I bought another item (so cool ... I can't wait to show you!).  Then he showed me this washstand for $30. 

It wouldn't fit in my car with the other items, so I said I'd come back later in the week to get it.  When I did, he told me that they hadn't realized what bad shape it was in.  Basically, the hardware is off of some of the drawers (but they had all of it), the door was off the hinges, and there was piece of wood that had been chipped off the door.  I had seen all of that, but still thought I was getting a good deal at $30--all of its issues were easy fixes, and it's oak, really well-made, and pretty big.  But they decided that $30 was too much, and gave it to me for free.

$30 was good, but I like free better!

Some other things I scored were these two windows I found at a barn sale.

This old bentwood rocker I found at Goodwill for $15.

And this console table I'm going to paint for a client.

Oh, and at the barn sale my friend found an adorable child-sized bentwood rocker, almost an exact replica of the one above!  I've never seen a child-sized one before.  She bought it for her grand daughter, and wants me to paint it.  I'll show it to you when it's done.  It adorable, and would look great with the big one (for mommy and daughter rocking sessions!). My husband is pretty enamored of the big one though,  so I think we may be keeping it.  It's really comfortable!

So I have plenty of projects to keep me busy--if I can find the time to do them between shopping trips that is!  Seriously, I have to cut myself off from Craigslist for a bit and focus on getting some things done so I can clear out some space in the garage.

I need the space for more finds! 

Hmmmm ... maybe my friend is right and I do have hoarding tendencies after all ...

Hope you all have a good weekend!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Floors, Pet Adoption, Shoes & Other Random Stuff

Happy Monday!  We're back home after spending most of the week in a Residence Inn while our floors were being done.  I would have had no problem staying another week--someone else doing the cleaning and making the bed for me, a pool, and going out for dinner every night--it was like a mini-vacation!

We came home Friday to find a smelly house (varnish fumes), beautiful floors, and a fine covering of dust all over everything.  They used the "dustless" technique, but apparently the name lies.

Family Room.  I'm thinking the wall need a new paint color now.

However, from what I've heard it's a lot better than the alternative, and it caused me to do some belated spring cleaning:  washing all the windows, cleaning the floor vents, taking everything out of the drawers and cupboards, so I could wash everything and wipe down the inside of the drawers and the cupboard shelves.

Foyer The gate is to keep the dogs off of the new sofa that's in the living room--
I'm going to make it a no doggie zone!

You know, the kind of things you only do when you have company coming over--like the holidays or when you have house guests.

Or maybe that's just me.

Plus, there were no dust bunnies or dog hair in sight.  I just had to take a moment to enjoy the awe-inspiring vistas.

Dining Room

But, back to reality today with the furniture being moved back in and the dogs back home.

I took a break from my cleaning on Saturday to help coordinate an event for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at Lord & Taylor.  It was a nation-wide adoption event in conjunction with Lord & Taylor and local adoption groups.  The group at my location was Friends of Homeless Animals. 

The event was part of Best Friends' "No More Homeless Pets"  initiative. 

Plus, Lord & Taylor had a shoe sale going on.  Two of my favorite things--shoes and animals!  How could I not be involved?

Take a photo of your favorite pair of sandals and your pet and you could win a
Lord & Taylor gift certificate. Click here to learn more..

We had 13 kittens and 5 dogs looking for their forever homes. The stories of the dogs were  heart-breaking, and the little kittys were so cute! 

My favorite - Rosco.  He loves to pose for the camera!

Rolo had a long, tiring day!

I would have taken them all if we had enough room and I thought my husband would have gone for it!

But I guess our 3 dogs and 3 cats is more than enough.  And now that these babies are with FOHA they're safe and happy until they find their new families.

The Friends of Homeless Animals' "Dog Squad." 

Plus, I can't keep up with the dog hair as it is!

(If you live in the Northern Virgina area and are interested in adopting a kitten or one of the dogs shown here, contact Friends of Homeless Animals.)

Lastly, I just want to say a big "Thank-You" to everyone who left a comment with suggestions about my dried brushes.  If you're ever in that boat (the paint-filled brushes had been left in plastic for two months because I was a space cadet, and were rock hard), you can use white vinegar or Murphy's Oil to save them. 

Who knew?  Well, obviously everyone who suggested it to me, but I was clueless and really appreciate the advice!

Have a great week--I have some great new finds I'll be showing you in a couple of days!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Any Advice from You Paint People?

Have you ever been just about to fall asleep, and suddenly had that "uh oh" feeling when you realized you forgot something?  It happened to me last night--and it made me jump out of bed and run down to the garage at midnight!

You see, I haven't painted anything since I was getting ready for Lucketts, and I planned to get started on a project this weekend.  I found a great oak coffee table on Craigslist that I'm going to paint for my living room redo.  But just as I was dozing off I remembered my paint brushes:  I had left them wrapped in plastic the night before we set up for Lucketts, meaning to clean them the next day.  And you guessed it--I totally forgot, and they've been sitting there ever since.  It's been two months!  Six brushes (I was working on multiple projects at the same time), four of them my good Purdy brushes.  Most of them hard as rocks.

As embarrassing as it is to admit what a ditz I am, I'm even more ashamed to tell you that it's not the first time I've forgotten about a brush! When it's happened to me before I've thrown the brush away.  But I'd hate to toss all of these--for one thing, they're not exactly cheap! 

So I'm wondering if any of you have a suggestion.  Is there anything I can do? Can they be saved, or am I going to have to take the walk of shame down the paint brush aisle at Home Depot? I was using chalk paint if that makes any difference.

Any ideas?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I didn't plan it ... but I like it!

Hello out there!  I hope your week has gotten off to a good start.  As I write this, I'm a little dizzy from fumes--the work has finally started in our house to repair the damage from the bathroom flood--so if I start to get incoherent, you'll know why!  As part of the repairs they are re-staining all of the molding in the front part of the house, and whatever they are using to take the current finish off is smelly and strong!  I have all the windows open in my office, and doors and a fan going downstairs, but it's still getting to me.  Hopefully the workers don't get woozy too--otherwise who knows what I'll find when I go downstairs?!

Next week the dogs and my husband and I move out while they refinish the floors.  The kitties are staying here, but they'll be closed off in our walk-out basement and we'll be coming in twice a day to check on them and feed them.  Well, two of them will be at least. 

Our crazy cat doesn't get along with the others, and has her own "suite" upstairs.  My husband--who is even crazier than I am when it comes to the animals--doesn't want to stress her out by putting her downstairs.  So she's going to be shut in an upstairs bedroom.  Now you may be wondering how we'll get in to feed her and clean the cat box since we can't walk on any of the floors on the main level. I had the same question. Hubby plans on using a ladder and climbing in and out of the upstairs bedroom window!  I know ... he's nuts!  The problem with our cats is they were all from feral litters, and even though we got them as kittens, they revert back when we try to put them in a carrier or cage.  They just freak out, so there is no way we can board them like we will the dogs. This is one of the reasons why I've put off having the floors refinished for nine years.  Personally, I think she can handle herself in the basement for three days, but it would be hard on her. Hopefully my husband will get through the ordeal unscathed if I can't talk him out of it!

Anyway ... I'm rambling. (Perhaps a sign of fume brain damage?) My real purpose of this post is to show you my corner cabinet project.  I was sure I took a "before" photo of it when I bought it, but damn if I can find it.  So here it is in process:

It's mahogany corner cabinet I bought on Craigslist last year for $30.  A shelf was broken, and there was some areas where the veneer had come off, but other than that it was in good shape. It started out with a federal top piece, but I removed that to make it more "cottagey."

When I took the photo above, I had already filled in and sanded where the veneer had come off, and had fixed the shelf rail.  I taped it off, and painted the inside with ASCP in Coco--one of my favorite colors.  I also painted the moldings on the front it Coco.

I love the combination of Coco and Old-White.  I used it for the first time on this piece:

So I painted the outside of the cabinet with Old-White.  I was thinking of doing something on the door panels and the panel above them, but I hadn't decided what yet.

You can kind of see a pinkish hue here where the stain from the piece bled through.  When that happens, all you have to do is go over it with clear varnish and paint it again.

Here's the thing.  I was doing this piece for Lucketts, and I was a bit behind schedule.  Like, I-was-doing-this-the-day-before-move-in type of behind schedule.  To top that off, I had some areas where I had to repaint because some of the original stain color bled through (which you fix with varnish - see photo caption above). To speed things along, I decided to just paint the panels Old-White as well. But there was a bit of a problem.

I was out of paint.  The can was scraped clean.

I didn't want to use the Coco on the panels because I thought it would stand out too much. And I didn't want to use any of my lighter colors because I wanted to keep the piece neutral. So I jumped in the car and drove to the nearest ASCP dealer, about a 30-minute drive away. I ran in, grabbed the paint and hurried home. 

That's when  I saw I picked up the wrong color.

I picked up Pure White instead of Old White.  And I didn't have time to go back to the store to exchange it.

I decided to try the Pure White.

At first I didn't think I liked it, but it grew on me. The subtle color contrast made it different.

I distressed it, and liked it even more.

The Coco border of the molding separated it enough from the Old White so it didn't look like a mistake.  It looked like I actually planned it!

I finished it with clear wax, put back the original hardware, and off it went to Lucketts.

It was bought by the daughter of a friend of mine to put in her little girl's room, and it's totally sweet in there with the lavender butterflies on the wall.  But it's neutral enough that it can go into her big-girl room when she's older, or in a guest room, kitchen, dining room, or because of its scale and the fact that it fits in a corner, it can even a bathroom to hold towels and toiletries.

A happy accident! 

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Before & Afters

How is your week going?  We've been taking care of some much-needed work outside.  By "we" I mean I've done the hard work of hiring someone else to do the job!  Seriously, we have so many garden beds around the house there is just no way I can keep them weeded by myself, so I have some helpers.  Between everything that's been going on, I haven't had a chance to work on anything but the gardens in the front of the house, so the weeds have started to take over in the other beds. Two people worked for five hours Sunday, and there is probably another two day's worth of work to be done.   Plus we need some hardscape repairs, and we had to have a large dead tree taken down. I believe in DIY -- but there's a limit!

I do have a couple of paint projects though that I did all by my lonesome to show you today.  These are a couple of pieces that I sold at Lucketts.

I picked up this entry or side table at a thrift shop for about $30.  It was solid mahogany.

I loved the tiered edges and the spiral legs ...

But let me tell you, this was not my favorite thing to paint!  The six spiral legs were a pain in the 'ole patooti.

But I persevered, and painted it in ASCP Old White, followed by a light distressing and a couple of coats of clear wax. 

I loved it, and it got lots of comments, but I was surprised that it was one of the last things I sold at Lucketts.  One thing I noticed was my colored furniture (greys, blues and taupes) sold almost immediately, while the white furniture--which used to be so popular--sat for a bit. I saw that in some of the other booths around me as well. I'm still a big fan of white furniture, but for the pieces I'm painting to sell, I'm thinking I'll lean toward other colors. 

The dresser behind it started out like this.

I found it on Craigslist for $35. It was solid maple, with dovetail drawers, bracket feet and Chippendale hardware. It was in great condition structurally, but the top had some issues. 

The label inside said it was made by Jamestown Sterling Corp, Jamestown NY.  Whenever I find a label in something I bought, I try to find some info on it.  I wouldn't want to paint something that was rare or a true antique (hey, I watch Antiques Roadshow too!), plus I just like learning a bit about the history of the piece.  I found out that long before High Point or the Chicago Furniture Mart, Jamestown used to be known as the "Furniture Capital of the World."   The town opened its furniture exposition in 1917.  Jamestown Sterling used to be one of the biggies.

I decided to stain the top of the dresser.  I sanded it, conditioned it, and put on a coat of Dark Walnut.

I had a problem with some strange spotting where the stain didn't take, which you can barely see in the top left of the above photo.  So I sanded it, conditioned it, and stained it again.  This time it turned out fine, and after two coats of stain and two coats of wipe-on poly it was perfect.

I painted the body of the dresser in ASCP Paris Grey, and went over it lightly with a dark wax.

I taped off the drawers, and did the outer area in Paris Grey, and the inner area in Old White.  I lightly distressed the edges, and painted the hardware in Paris Grey.

Sorry I don't have nicely styled photos of either of these pieces, but I was in a hurry to get ready for the sale!

This piece sold pretty quickly--it was a really nicely built dresser.  But here's the thing, the person who bought it is going to paint it black.  Luckily she loved the top, otherwise all my work would have been for nothing! 

Now I understand that the paint treatment may not be everyone's style, but I wondered why she didn't just look on Craigslist and get a piece if she was going to paint it anyway. I guess not everyone is a Craigslist Junkie like me!  Apparently it was the perfect size, and she liked the style.

A sale is a sale, and she paid what I was asking for it.  I think it will look lovely in black!

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